The Fundamental How and Why of a Geothermal Heat Pump

One of the most unexpected things about a geothermal heating and cooling system is that it has so few moving parts. There’s just that much less that can go wrong– that much less needing maintenance. And that alone plays a significant role in lowering the overall energy costs of Utah homeowners who’ve gone geothermal.

 

Of course, there are some moving parts in the system. Most of them are found in its most important component, too: the geothermal heat pump.

This is the system’s engine. Its job is to transfer heat. And it transfers heat either from the ground into your house or from your house into the ground, depending on the season30. Thus, it’s a furnace and an air conditioner combined in one unobtrusive package.

Water – or an antifreeze solution – is the medium by which the heat pump transfers heat. This liquid circulates through loops of underground pipes to which the heat pump is secured above ground. During heating season the liquid draws heat from the ground, the heat pump draws the warm liquid up into refrigerant coils, and from that point the heat is distributed throughout a home by either a forced air or a hydronic system. During cooling season the process runs in reverse: the pump draws heat from your home and transfers it to the ground via those same buried loops. Oh, and somewhere in all this, various geothermal systems also supply domestic hot water.

The basic distinction between a geothermal heat pump and a common furnace is that a heat pump doesn’t set fuel burning to generate heat. Rather, it takes heat that’s already there and merely moves it around. That naturally makes it a much more efficient heating and cooling system. Keep this in mind, too: underground temperatures almost always hold at around 50º F through the year. Result? A geothermal heating and cooling system uses considerably less energy to cool your home than typical air conditioners.

So … is a geothermal system the answer for your Utah home? Talk with this area’s geothermal wizards, the friendly people at Utah Geothermal.